Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell

Stuffed Bell Peppers and Jennifer’s Strawberry Trifle

As Southerners, many memories are created around the table sharing food and fellowship with people we love. Traditions are made and kept with family and friends and passed to the next generations. When I think of the many Decorations I have attended at Sheppard Cemetery; I think of the wonderful lunch we had at Slackland’s Fellowship Hall. I can remember just about what everyone would bring each year. Ada Lee Bishop’s baked ham and lemon icebox pies, Aunt Vasti Bishop’s famous pound cake, Aunt Sue Lankford’s caramel cake, Aunt Eva Sewell’s homemade rolls, and my cousin, Jennifer Brunson’s, delicious strawberry trifle.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Use as many bell peppers as you like. Cut large peppers in half. Remove seeds and rinse. Pare boil peppers until a little tender. Drain and cool. Grate extra sharp cheese, and then add the same amount of crushed saltines. (I put my crackers in a gallon zip lock bag and crush with a rolling pin) Combine your grated cheese and crushed crackers together. Add chopped onions and chopped bell pepper (as much as you would like to use). Then add enough mayonnaise to hold it together. Be careful and not use too much. Stuff the pepper halves with the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until brown on the top and bubbly around the edges. I also add red bell pepper for the color and have sometimes added pimento out of the jar.
Andy’s Note: As I have told you before, I am a recipe and cookbook “nut.” My three bookshelves are full of cookbooks now and I have shuffled through hundreds of recipes. There are very few recipes that I haven’t seen or tried. But NEVER in my research have I ever seen bell peppers stuffed like this. 
My aunt Dot Thomas told me this morning that this recipe originated from our Aunt Gennie from Cherokee County. These are so good in the summer with fresh tomatoes from the garden. My mother and I have stuffed tons of these. We have stuffed them, put them on large sheet pans, let them freeze, and then bag them in gallon bags. By experimenting, I have found that you can also stuff large banana peppers the same way. Please, you must try these. I can’t wait to fill my freezer with these wonderful peppers.
Jennifer’s Strawberry Trifle
       1 yellow or white cake mix
fresh strawberries (as many as you want to use)(you want a lot of berries)
large box of instant vanilla pudding (you may want to use an extra pudding mix)
large container of Cool Whip
You follow the directions on your cake mix. Bake your cake in a long pan because you are going to cut into squares. While your cake is baking, slice your strawberries and sweeten with sugar. Mix your pudding together and let it thicken (go by the directions on your box). 
After your cake is completely cool, you start layering in your trifle bowl.  Start with cake squares to cover the bottom, then cover cake squares with berries,  then pudding, and then add a layer of Cool Whip. Remember while you are layering, all of these layers will be seen through your trifle bowl. 
Continue layering until everything is used. Top with a layer of Cool Whip. Decorate the top and sides with some beautifully sliced strawberries. Jennifer says you can make this the day before and refrigerate.
Andy’s Note: Jennifer brought this every year and we all looked forward to her wonderful and beautiful dish. It was always so pretty, layered in her crystal trifle bowl. This is another dish that you can not believe is so easy and yet can be so delicious! The most important asset of a trifle is being able to feed a bunch of hungry people.   
My 30 jars of strawberry jam are made, Doug and Matthew have the garden planted, and I am ready to settle down with a new cookbook and read.
Happy cooking!
Andy (Andrea) Bedwell
“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at Little Faces Doll Shop, Alabama Gift Company, and the Messenger on Broad.
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